Anza Trail Blog

Oakland College Students Build Anza Trail "Parklet" on Campus

by Hale Sargent, Anza Trail Interpretive Specialist

Tagged as:   Alameda County , California , urban , youth

NPS / Itzel Diaz

Laney College architecture students helped Oakland, California, join the National Park Service Centennial celebration by unveiling a "national parklet" on campus.

Laura Joss, National Park Service Pacific West Regional Director, and Dr. Patricia Stanley, Laney College Interim President, joined the students for their parklet ribbon-cutting on April 18, 2016.
The parklet began as a classroom project in 2015. Staff from the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trailchallenged the students to create an exhibit roughly the size of a parking space. 
The students' task was to evoke the 1,200-mile Anza Trail, which connects Mexico and the Bay Area and commemorates the Spanish settlement of the Bay Area in 1776. The parklet was also to serve as a touchpoint in Oakland for visitors to engage with the national parks of the Bay Area, which include Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, and Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park. 
The student designers wanted their parklet to reflect the epic scale of the Anza Trail and the natural landscapes of California. They were also drawn to the Anza Trail's story of migration, a story that resonates in the ethnically-diverse Bay Area.
The undulating wooden design of the parklet draws from these two themes. The parklet's entrance is cavernous and dark. Walking into the exhibit gives you the feeling of venturing upon new beginnings, echoing the immigrant experience of traveling somewhere strange and unknown. 
Continuing through the parklet, the structure opens up to symbolize Anza settlers' arrival to California after crossing a harsh climate. Light filters through colored panels overhead symbolizing the ocean air. Two wooden ridges flank the parklet, representing the coastal ranges near the Golden Gate. 
The fluid shape of the parklet evokes California's coast, and forms a bench where visitors can watch projected images of the state's streams and hills. 
"The theme of the National Park Service Centennial is Find Your Park," says Anza Trail park ranger Hale Sargent. "We want people to come to parks, but we also want parks to come to people, and the Laney College students are helping us meet that goal."
The parklet will remain open through December 2016 in the lobby of the Tower Building on the Laney College campus before moving to Oakland's Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, which also interprets the city's Spanish colonial past.
For more about the National Park Service Centennial, visit
View photos of the Laney College parklet and the ribbon-cutting ceremony at
Watch a two-minute story about the parklet ribbon-cutting at


NPS / Itzel Diaz

NPS / Itzel Diaz

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